If your child is absent or going to be late for any reason please inform the school before 8.30am, if at all possible, so form tutors know of the reason for absence before the registration period. The attendance line number is 01727 731368 and can be found at the bottom of the school website and on page 28 of the student planner. Please put the number in your phone!
By law, only the head teacher can authorise your child’s absence. It is important to keep the school informed if your child is going to be absent as soon as possible at the start of the day.
If your child is frequently absent due to illness the school may request permission to contact your GP for confirmation that they are too ill to attend school.
If it becomes clear that your child will be away from school for longer than expected, phone the school to explain this as soon as possible.
If your child attends school and feels unwell during the school day the school will contact you to arrange collection.
Our First Day Response Procedures
BBC News last week featured the tragic story of teacher, Helen Daykin. In October 2016, Helen was working away from home when her husband, Chris, died suddenly whilst looking after their young children. After his sudden death from heart failure in the house, Helen's little girls, four and two, spent almost 24 hours with the body of their father.
The older girl had recently started school, and when she didn't arrive, the school rang their father, to no avail. Tragically, they didn't then follow up with a call to the girls' mother, 200 miles away in London. The alarm wasn't raised until tea-time when Chris' mother visited the home.
Helen is telling her heart-breaking story to raise awareness of the importance of first-day calls, and the importance of responding to school if contacted. With this in mind I thought it would be useful to remind everybody of what we do to help safeguard our community.
I am writing to make you aware of the school procedure for children who have unexplained absences from school.
There have been public cases in the past where schools have not chased up the reasons as to why children are off of school. It has then transpired that there have been tragic circumstances around these absences, e.g. illness of a parent and a child unable to seek help.
We will do everything we can to prevent such situations occurring as I am sure you would agree that your child’s safety is paramount to us all.
If your child is not going to be in school please call the office on 01727 731368 or email the school on firstname.lastname@example.org to report their absence. Please do this before 08:30 on the first day of the absence.
If we have not heard from you by 09:15 then we will start to send school comms text messages and emails and call all the contact numbers that you have provided in order to gain an explanation for the absence. If we still have not been able to ascertain where your child is then we may well make a home visit. However if we still haven’t been able to get a response then we will report it to the police as your child will then be classed a ‘missing child’.
This procedure is to ensure that we know where your child is and that you are all safe. Please let us know in good time why your child is absent from school. If you would like to talk to me about this please make an appointment to see me.
The Marlborough Science Academy First Day Call Procedure
Registers taken promptly
- Attendance team listen to absence calls, read absence emails and check school comms messages
- Registers collated, lates, absence calls - produce the list of children absent with no explanation (these will be N marks on SIMS)
- Any discrepancies will be chased up in school
- Send school comms (texts and emails), if no response start first day calling for children absent without explanation, call everyone on the contact list until you get an answer. Leave messages if there is a voicemail option
- If an overseas ring tone a check is made with DoL’s and the Head teacher to see if there has been any contact for holiday authorisation
- If no replies at all consider whether any children have additional agency support, such as a social worker, contact them.
- Speak to any family members in school to ask about the child’s whereabouts
- Call the contact list at least twice and send out another set of school comms at PM registration if we have not had any communication
- Make a prompt home visit if we have concerns
- If you cannot get an answer from the home visit refer to children's services / MASH / Police and request a welfare call.
How will absences from school affect my child's progress at school?
The quality of school work and qualifications gained will be significantly lower if attendance is lower.
Your child's learning and that of other students could be disrupted by the missing of vital classwork.
A child or young person's well-being and long-term life opportunities may be adversely afffected by the missing of positive experiences associated with school and learning.
What is acceptable attendance?
The School expects all students to aim for 100% attendance.
96% attendance is regarded as good and can be achieved with some illness.
Any attendance level that creates a cause for concern would initiate intervention by the school. This could be as simple as a ‘chat’ with the form teacher or may, in more severe circumstances, lead to the involvement of our attendance team or agencies outside of the school.
How does the school record absence?
The school uses an electronic system of attendance registration that is updated within each lesson by the form teacher or subject teacher.
The system records whether the child is present or absent.
Absence is categorised as being authorised (agreed and accepted by the school as being appropriate) or unauthorised.
Examples of authorised absence would be genuine illness, medical appointments etc.
Examples of unauthorised absence would be truancy, parentally condoned absence without appropriate reason, and unauthorised holidays in term time.
The codes used are standard codes as issued by the government.
What should i do if my child is ill?
If your child is too ill to attend, please ring the school on the first day (and on each subsequent day) your child is unwell. 01727 731368 or email email@example.com
On return to school, your child should bring a letter explaining the illness.
If my child is absent from school, what can I expect to happen?
On the first day of your child’s absence you will receive a phone call from the school to ask you to explain your child’s absence, if you have not already contacted the school.
If your child’s absences are more frequent, you should expect to receive a letter informing you of your child’s attendance level.
If your child’s absence is unacceptable or at a significantly low level you c be could be asked to attend a meeting in school to discuss support appropriate to your child.
Can a student take a holiday in term time?
Due to the legal change in the Department for Education (DfE) legislation, at The Marlborough Science Academy we will only grant leave of absence in exceptional circumstances that are not related to holidays.
Term time holidays/extended leave are not allowed and parents/carers are discouraged from arranging them in term time.
If parents/carers choose to take their child out on holiday in term time the absence will be recorded as an unauthorised absence. This could lead to an Fixed Penalty Notice being issued.
Parents/carers must send in a letter addressed to the headteacher requesting permission to take their child out of school during term time due to an exceptional circumstance.
If my child has an unacceptable level of unauthorised absence, what can I expect to happen?
You will be contacted by the school, either by telephone, letter and/or visit to your home in order that the level of, and reasons for, your child’s absence can be discussed with you.
A plan of action will be compiled that is aimed at helping you improve your child’s school attendance.
A failure to comply with any such plan without a valid reason will, if your child’s school attendance does not improve, result in a referral being made to the local authority who will aim to support you in ensuring your child attends school regularly.
Further poor school attendance by your child may result in legal action being taken against you by the local authority.
You may initially be issued with a Fixed Penalty Notice (fine) after first being given a written warning.
See the information provided below with regard to the Fixed Penalty Notice.
What is an Education Penalty notice?
A Fixed Penalty Notice is a fine issued to parents or carers and can be either £60 per parent or carer (if the payment is made within 21 days of receipt) or £120 per parent or carer (if paid after this, but within 28 days). Fixed Penalty Notices are issued by post to your home and will explain how and where to send your payment. You must pay the whole of the amount owing in one payment. You cannot pay in instalments or part of the amount.
How will i know when I am going to receive a fixed penalty notice?
Before Fixed Penalty Notices are issued, you will receive a written warning which will explain the extent of your child’s non-attendance and the possibility of your receiving a Penalty Notice if their attendance does not improve in 15 sessions. During this period, your child must not have any further unauthorised absences from school. There is no limit to the number of times a formal warning of a possible Fixed Penalty Notice issue may be made in any particular case.
What kind of unauthorised absences result in the issuing of a fixed penalty notice?
Where students are openly truanting (this includes students found during truancy sweeps by the police.
Absences from school which parents or carers are aware of, but that are not authorised by the school.
Holidays that have been taken in term time which the headteacher has not authorised.
An unacceptably delayed return from an extended holiday if the parents or carers have not received permission beforehand from the school.
Regular late arrival at school (after the register has closed).
How can I help my child?
Let your child know that you think school is important.
Make sure your child goes to school regularly and on time.
Take an interest in your child's school work.
Provide regular times and a quiet, clean area for doing home learning.
Set a regular bedtime schedule. Age should not be a factor.
Provide your child with plenty of time to get ready for school.
If your child starts to miss school, speak to the school and let your child know he/she must attend.
Have regular communication with the school.
If your child is ill, contact the school and explain the reason for the absence.
Don't expect your older children to stay home and act as babysitters for younger children.
Set good examples and enforce rules.
Include regular exercise and a balanced diet in your child's daily activities.
Post the school calendar and notes on the refrigerator, or another prominent location.
Balance time with extracurricular activities.
Keep open communication lines with your child.
A Parent's Guide to Managing Sickness Absence from School
Occasionally students are too unwell to attend school. We will monitor and engage with parents as soon as a pattern of absence becomes apparent.
When deciding whether or not your child is too ill to attend school. Ask yourself:
- Is your child well enough to carry out the activities of the school day? If not, keep your child at home and consult your GP as appropriate
- Does your child have a contagious condition that could be passed on to other children or staff? If so, keep your child at home
- Would you take a day off work if you had this condition? If so, keep your child at home
Most illnesses can be classified as one of a few minor health conditions.
Whether or not you send your child to school will depend on how severe you judge the illness to be. This guidance can help you to make that judgement. If you’re concerned about your child’s health, consult a health professional.
Cough and cold
A child with a minor cough or cold may attend school. If the cold is accompanied by raised temperature, shivers or drowsiness, the child should stay off school, visit the GP and return to school 24 hours after they’re feeling better.
If your child has a more severe and long-lasting cough, consult your GP, who can provide guidance on whether the child should stay off school.
If your child has a raised temperature, they shouldn’t attend school. They can return 24 hours after they’re feeling better.
Rashes can be the first sign of many infectious illnesses such as chickenpox and measles. Children with these conditions shouldn’t attend school.
If your child has a rash, check with your GP or practice nurse before sending them to school.
A child with a minor headache doesn’t usually need to be kept off school. If the headache is more severe or is accompanied by other symptoms such as raised temperature or drowsiness, then keep the child off school and consult your GP.
Vomiting and diarrhoea
Children with these conditions should be kept off school. They can return 48 hours after their symptoms disappear. Most cases of vomiting or diarrhoea get better without treatment, but if symptoms persist, consult your GP.
A sore throat alone doesn’t have to keep a child from school. If it’s accompanied by a raised temperature seek medical advice.